Saturday at The Masters

Masters fans sit along the first tee box as the sun peeks through a giant Oak tree at Augusta National Golf Club, which announced Wednesday that it will hold a women's amateur tournament in 2019. File/Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

AUGUSTA — The Augusta National Golf Club, ridiculed in past years for its all-male membership, took a big swing at boosting women's golf Wednesday when new club chairman Fred Ridley announced the iconic course would host the Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship beginning in 2019.

The 54-hole tournament will include 72 players and start with two rounds at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta with a final round at Augusta National on Saturday, April 6.

The event will be televised, Ridley said, and final-round tickets will be made available through a lottery process.

The announcement was made during the chairman's annual press conference the day before the first round of the Masters. 

"Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts left behind a legacy of always trying to contribute meaningfully to the game of golf," Ridley said. "The Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship embodies that principle, and we believe this event will have a significant and lasting impact on the future of the women's game."

Augusta National added its first female members in 2012, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and prominent South Carolina business executive Darla Moore. The club now has "several" women as members, Ridley said.

Invitations for the tournament will be provided to the winners of the following recognized events: U.S. Women’s Amateur, Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship, Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific, U.S. Girls’ Junior, Girls’ British Open Amateur Championship, Girls Junior PGA Championship.